If the eyes are the windows to our souls, then our under-eyes are the weary window sills etched with blatant marks of fatigue and exhaustion. And while full coverage, light-reflective, or colour-correcting concealers can provide a fleeting facade, make-up is merely a band-aid solution to a much deeper cosmetic affliction.
That said, there is a silver lining: Under-eye bags and dark circles can be treated. However, there’s also a bit of rain in this forecast: You need to first figure out which of the three different types of under-eye concerns you have. Thankfully, Vogue Singapore has you covered. Below, a comprehensive rundown on the various under eye concerns and how to deal with them as detailed by a medical professional.
What are dark eye circles and under-eye bags?
When it comes to the world of under-eye troubles, the names “dark eye circles” and “eye bags” might suggest obvious explanations. However, Dr Gerard Ee, Medical Director at the Clifford Clinic, explains that while the pair may often occur simultaneously, they have very different characteristics and causes.
Under-eye bags are essentially loose skin triggered by an assortment of factors, with the most common ones being fluid retention, ageing, or weakened skin elasticity. In contrast, dark eye circles typically exhibit brownish, bluish, or purplish hues, manifesting from pigmentation irregularities, thinning of the skin, and underlying blood vessels.
“It’s worth noting that dark eye circles and eye bags can be interrelated—certain underlying causes like allergies or lifestyle factors can affect both dark circles and puffy eyes,” clarifies Dr Ee. Nevertheless, there are specialised treatment options available to remedy each unique under-eye issue. We recommend getting your hands on a trusty looking glass for this next part.
Type 1: Vascular under-eyes
Victims of the vascular under-eye often have bluish or purplish tints around the ocular region. These indigo-shades emanate from the thinning of skin around the eyes, causing the underlying network of blood vessels to peek through. Nasal congestion and insufficient sleep can further instigate dilated blood vessels and poor blood circulation, resulting in the ominous presence of darker, deoxygenated blood pooling under your peepers.
Hence, when searching for eye creams, Dr Ee recommends serums enriched with vitamin K or caffeine. These potent ingredients work wonders by strengthening and constricting blood vessels, thereby enhancing blood circulation and reducing the prominence of vascular patterns. Additionally, the inclusion of retinoids and peptides are highly beneficial in thickening the delicate skin around the orbital region.
In a more enduring approach, various aesthetic procedures can effectively tackle vascular under-eyes as well. One such treatment is Pulse Dye Laser (V-beam) therapy, which specifically targets the blood vessels beneath the eyes, while another is hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers, which can add volume to the under-eye area and minimise the perspicuousness of blood vessels.
Type 2: Hyperpigmented under-eyes
If the crescents beneath your eyes exhibit shades of brown or grey, it is likely that you belong to the hyperpigmented under-eye clan. This condition, known as periorbital hyperpigmentation, can be attributed to factors such as sun exposure, chronic eye rubbing, inflammation, or allergies, all of which trigger increased melanin production in the skin. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and a poor diet may also contribute to this condition. According to Dr Ee, these hyperpigmented under-eye circles can be more persistent and may not completely fade or disappear, even with sufficient rest and skincare—especially for individuals with a genetic predisposition. However, there are numerous methods available to reduce their visibility.
For instance, vitamin C, hydroquinone, and kojic acid are powerful allies when it comes to inhibiting melanin production, lightening hyperpigmentation, and brightening the skin. Equally important is protecting your skin from sun exposure with a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30, to prevent further hyperpigmentation.
For a more advanced treatment, Dr. Ee recommends considering PicoLaser therapy, which is known for its efficient ability to lighten pigmentation.
Type 3: Saggy under-eye bags
Saggy under-eye bags often present as puffiness or swelling beneath the eyes, where the skin may appear slightly protruding or bulging, particularly in the morning. Unfortunately, the primary culprit behind this droopy vexation is the inevitable march of time, as age takes its cruel toll.
However, Dr Ee contends that maintaining proper hydration and managing stress levels might contribute to preserving the vitality and elasticity of the skin. Alternatively, he proposes surgical interventions like blepharoplasty or fat grafting as potential solutions for persistent dark circles stemming from excess fat or loose skin around the eyes.